God, the Father of Jesus, respects us, His creation, made in His image, so much, that He does not force us to love Him. In fact, He has created this world in such a way that we can go through our whole life denying His existence and His rightful claim on our life. God does not demand worship. He is love, and love does not force others to love. In fact, love cannot be forced. He simply loves us continuously from before we are conceived until we die; and He orchestrates circumstances and relationships in hopes that at some point we will see that He loves us and that as a response we will freely choose to love Him in return and others as ourselves.
But, why would God send good people to hell? What if no one ever told them about God? God would be unfair to reject someone who was never told about Him, wouldn’t He?
Romans 1:18-20, NIV:
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Before I knew Jesus and surrendered my life to Him I was scared to death of dying. Occasionally, I thought the rapture (Jesus taking all of His people from the earth) had occurred and that I was left behind. When I thought I was going to die, or I thought I was left behind, I had a brief moment of clarity. I knew God was holy, I knew I was sinful, and I knew He was just to reject me. And after those brief moments I rejected what I knew to be true and “closed my eyes” and went back to my life as usual.
I knew God was real but I didn’t care. I had no love for Him.
But God had love for me.
He gave me mental illness, which might seem like hate, but it was really love. The mental illness struck at my biggest source of pride and self-sufficiency: my brain. I was paranoid and could not think logically and I could not emotionally relate to others. Because of my mental illness I was rejected and alone, even in a crowd of friends and family. After ten years of this “hell” I was still rebellious toward God and still did not respect or love Him.
But He loved me.
And, when I had absolutely nothing left to lose, God offered me a relationship with Him. And it was only when God had taken away everything the world had to offer: intellect, money, jobs, cars, friends, family, that I grudgingly accepted Him; specifically because I had absolutely nothing left to lose.
Thinking that I was naturally “pretty good” I could not have been any more disrespectful to God. And He humbled Himself and endured me until I accepted Him and His love. He has transformed me from someone who hated love to someone who rejoices in love. I have been forever changed by Jesus’ love and all the credit goes to Him.
If you want to know Jesus the way I do all you have to do is to reach out for Him with all that you are. He said He will be found by you. Tell Him that you have sinned against Him and that you are sorry and that you accept that His death on the cross paid for your sin debt in full. Then tell Him that you believe He rose from the dead on the third day to make you just, forgiven, and holy. And tell Him that He is now your Lord and Master and that you will follow Him for the rest of your life when at last you will meet Him face to face.
Next, tell someone what Jesus has done for you. And find a church that believes and preaches the Bible. Find someone who is farther along in their walk with Jesus and who’s life is worthy of imitating and ask them to mentor you. And always read the Bible and pray, because God loves you most of all and He can help you most of all.